How To Avoid Common Pitfalls

Failure to set reasonable goals

Set specific targets of what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve results. For example, instead of saying you want to be “comfortable” when you retire or that you want your children to attend “good” schools, you need to quantify what “comfortable” and “good” mean so that you’ll know when you’ve reached your goals. Financial planning is a common sense approach to managing your finances to reach your life goals. It cannot change your situation overnight; it is a lifelong process. Remember that events beyond your control such as inflation or changes in the stock market or interest rates will affect your financial planning results.

Failure to re-evaluate your financial plan periodically

Financial planning is a dynamic process. Your financial goals may change over the years due to changes in your lifestyle or circumstances, such as an inheritance, marriage, birth, home purchase or change of job status. Revisit and revise your financial plan as time goes by to reflect these changes so that you stay on track with your long-term goals.

Waiting too long, or waiting for a financial crisis to begin financial planning. Do not assume financial planning is for when you get older or only for the wealthy

Don’t delay your financial planning. Individuals who save or invest small amounts of money early often tend to do better than those who wait until later in life. Similarly, by developing good financial planning habits such as saving, budgeting, investing and regularly reviewing your finances early in life, you will be better prepared to meet life changes and handle emergencies.

Confusing financial planning with investing

Too many people work with incompetent “financial advisors” that are nothing more than glorified salespeople with a nice suit and a fancy business card. Achieving success in one’s financial plan has a lot more to do with proper asset allocation rather than picking the next “hot” stock.